First Montreal Halal Guys restaurant stirs up language controversy

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WATCH ABOVE: Language controversy is on the menu as the Halal Guys restaurant opens in Montreal. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, it all started on social media – Sep 6, 2016

The first Halal Guys restaurant is open in Montreal, creating a lot of buzz in the city.

But its English-only signs are firing up some people who insist the province’s laws dictate everything must be written in French.

When the restaurant’s owners announced the franchise would be coming to Canada, people on social media started to point out that the signage would need to be translated to French at its Quebec locations.

READ MORE: Number of fines going down, says Quebec language police

Owner Lu-Uy Tran argued the restaurant’s signs are a trademark and can’t be changed.

“We are totally OQLF compliant,” he told Global News.

“The only thing, right now, that is in English is the signs in the front of the building. that’s because of logistics, but it’s coming down.”

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Despite the comments on the Halal Guys’ Facebook page, Tran insisted the restaurant complies with the province’s language laws.

READ MORE: Quebec language police has air gun business in crosshairs

Clients told Global News Tuesday they’re more interested in the food than the signs.

“If the Halal Guys is a registered trademark in Canada and is only in English, people should not complain,” said Harold Staviss, an English-rights activist.

“They’re putting ‘le restaurant’ before [the logo], their menus are bilingual and I think people should be happy that the retailer is coming.”
A customer stands in line at the Halal Guys restaurant in Montreal, Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Karol Dahl/Global News

Global News reached out to the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) for comment, but representatives declined the request for interview.

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Tran said he doesn’t expect a visit from OQLF officials anytime soon.

READ MORE: Quebec language police target Burgundy Lion – but not for its name

Nevertheless, the franchise owner is adamant he is complying with their rules.

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